Fans, friends, and anyone else can use the following address to send me email:

Whether it's a comment you don't wish to post in front of everyone or a request for information, I will monitor this address and try to follow up to those indicating they wish a reply. (Please, no spam. I just want to make it easy to communicate.)

IMPORTANT - email addresses are ONLY used to respond to messages, and are NOT sold or used for any other purpose.

Friday, June 28, 2013

What Happens Next?

New scene in "The Janus Rule." Angel is about to do some investigating Jack would frown on, and I knew this was coming. What I haven't figured out yet is what she's going to find as a result. It's a bold move on her part, and that means she must find something of consequence.

Oh my! While I was writing the above with no clue where to go next, the inspiration hit me out of the blue! She'll see something that puts a different spin on things and creates a new conflict, but it will also lead to the resolution of her case. Eventually.

How does this happen? I find myself stuck on something, not knowing what to write next or where I want things to go, and then BAM! The idea just comes to me like magic. Perhaps I shouldn't try to pull back the curtain and see how it happens and be grateful that it does happen.

I need to think this one through before I do any more writing of it. Another character needs to have flesh put on his bones, and Angel's response to him needs to be determined. Maybe if I get back on my filing project, the magic will happen again.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Getting Organized

Not too much writing going on yet today, but I'll be getting on it after lunch some. I started on a long-overdue project to straighten out my home filing system, still in disarray after moving to this house two years ago. Papers misfiled, in no particular sequence, can't find anything when I need it. While it's all nicely hidden in file drawers, a few attempts to locate items which should have been simple turned into a major undertaking and without much success. I'm an organized person by nature, so not being able to find things and encountering disorganization really bothers me. So maybe I'll work on a little each day, because not working on my novel bothers me too.

I do have some more scenes mapped out in "Janus" as well as signs of some structure going forward, ideas about what should happen to get where I want to go. The really unusual thing about this book is that a lot is happening in a short period of time, with several chapters covering a single day. That might be on account of having so many POV characters and two separate (?) cases going on at once. Also, lots of different conflicts.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I took a breather at a stuck point and made some notes for future projects--a third Windsong Lake book and revamps of two earlier manuscripts. One of the latter will be mainly a complete rewrite of my first completed novel, but my note on it addressed an issue of character. As written, one of my protagonists does something bad, but since I like him, I made it so what he did wasn't totally his fault. I guess back then I didn't want to besmirch his hero standing. When I rewrite it, he's still going to do the bad thing and suffer the consequences, but he'll have to take responsibility for his decision and face a dilemma over it. I think he'll come off as more of a real person rather than as some sort of saint.

Now I'm itching to get back on "Janus."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bogged Down Again

Progress slowing down on "The Janus Rule" and I suspect other authors more organized than I am would say that lack of organization was to blame. I got through the scenes I found inspiration for the other day, but now I don't know where to go next. I'm sure it will come to me, but in the meantime, perhaps I can work on some notes for future projects. I have three of them in my head already. I've been sidetracked like this before, even to the point of dropping one book and starting another. So undisciplined. The muse wants what the muse wants.

I also get the nagging feeling I should be doing more in the name of promotion. I recently heard from a fellow author who has been contacting libraries about making appearances, and I had been thinking about doing the same thing. I'm already set up for a return to the Joliet Author Fest in October, but there are lots of libraries around the suburbs of Chicago. My plan is to get the message to them that I am willing to do signings, book fairs, and maybe even meet with small groups like book clubs or aspiring authors. I can handle small groups, but big crowds are anxiety inducing for me. But nothing ties my tongue faster than telling me I have a time limit. "Tell us about your book in 60 seconds." I'll try to talk and hear myself talking and keep track of how much time I've used up and it all turns into a big jumble. I can do it without a time limit (I think), but I seem to  get into trouble with one because I can't gauge time without looking at a watch or clock. Ah, well. . . In any case, I hope to have more to show on my various websites about upcoming events.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Can't Leave A Puzzle Unsolved

Well, I had to go back to and finish designing my website there. I know yesterday I complained about it and offered arguments why I did not need another site, but maybe it's just my years as a programmer that made it impossible to accept defeat. So now I have another website, I'm thinking that maybe that site will take over being my main book site while leaving this one for blogging. Haven't decided yet.

I had a burst of inspiration yesterday afternoon for "The Janus Rule" and forged ahead on it this morning after some minor tweaks of earlier passages. It was one of those oooh-that's-good ideas, so good that I had no trouble remembering it (for a change) overnight. A lot of times, good ideas come to me when I don't have an opportunity to follow through or at least make notes, and then they are gone. Not this one, though. Maybe because I had inadvertently set the scene for it without seeing the connection until my ah-ha moment.

Sometimes, the muse works with me . . .

Monday, June 24, 2013

How Many Websites?

I spent (wasted) part of the morning trying to develop a website on Wix.Com. I'd seen the ads pop up on Facebook, and an author I know just created her site. I figured, it's free, so what the heck? Well, when I started creating the page of my books, I ran out of room and couldn't figure out how to get the rest of them on there. So maybe I don't really need another website. I have this blog and my Google site. What I was setting up in Wix wasn't all that different. Maybe it just isn't worth the time.

I need to get back to "The Janus Rule," which I thought about a fair amount over the weekend. The excrement is about to come into contact with the mechanical cooling device, as it were, and poor Jack is gonna be in the middle of it. My publisher, Arline Chase, references author Carla Neggers on this issue, if I may quote from Arline's blog: "...put your character in a hole and every time they try to climb out, throw more dirt down on them. If you throw enough dirt, according to Carla, the Big Gloom (don't you just love all these technical terms?) her name for the bleak moment (when the reader is certain it's going to end in disaster), will arrive without looking contrived." In Jack's case, the "dirt" will be the number of people who have it in for him. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sometimes It's a Struggle

I've spent a lot of the morning on "The Janus Rule" and the tricky scene I mentioned in yesterday's post. A lot of writing dialog and then back tracking to change it. How much to reveal? Should this be a new area of conflict or the resolution of one? What suspect should it point to? I want each major character to suspect someone else, and maybe one of them actually targets the right person. The Jack Watson books have always been complicated in this way with multiple points of view and devious plots by bad guys.

A few things I want to do differently with this book, however, remain in my thoughts. One, no F.B.I., which was involved in both "Dreamer" and "Changeling." I don't want it to become predictable, and the idea of a P.I.'s cases always leading to a crime of federal magnitude seems a bit preposterous. Two, I want unlikely heroes responding in unpredictable ways. In "Changeling," Jack wasn't the big hero in the end although he solved the puzzle. Time for him to be the tough action guy again? I don't know yet.

Over the last couple of days, I've also given more thought to another novel, the first one I ever finished and tried to market. It's the one that came back with all those repetitious phrases marked. I still like the story line, though, and the characters. It deserves a rewrite I think.

Then there's a third Windsong Lake plot I've been mulling over. I saw a picture posted on Facebook this morning that stirred the inspiration engine for it. I already have an exciting opening sequence, a set-up for the events to unfold, a crucial scene, at least one line of conflict. Maybe while I sort out my thoughts on "Janus," I should make some notes about this one.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Critical Passages

On to a new chapter in "The Janus Rule," i.e., Chapter 10. Another critical scene is underway, but even as I prepared to write this post, the thought hit me: Aren't they all?

I've seen advice to writers in a number of places that anything that does not move the story forward should be left out. Well, within reason, of course. I've read many a book where that advice was ignored. I find it annoying to read a number of pages about something the characters are doing only to find out that it really did not mean anything. It did not supply any new information, either about the plot or about the characters. On the other hand, writers are often told they need to flesh out the characters and add layers of imagery to put the reader in the scene, make the reader imagine what's happening. Conflicting advice? Not really, but hard to explain and execute. Granted, The Muse is hard to defy sometimes. The scene happens in my head and begs to be written down, even though the story will be fine without it. If that's the case, it gets cut during editing. Sometimes, a quick passage can pass the test just as comic relief. The key here is "quick." Okay, I guess this calls for an example.

In "The Dreamer Gambit," one of my main characters, Tabitha, is abducted by bad guys who want to know what she knows. She is then drugged and dumped on the street in a questionable part of town. She needs to be rescued. Two ladies of the evening find her and go through her purse while she lays there in a stupor. One of them has the kindness and presence of mind to call her emergency number which reaches Jack who was off meeting an anonymous contact with vital information. I got to play with a little humor in writing dialog for the two women as well as in their conversation with Jack, but it moved the story forward by solving the problem of how he could possibly find Tabitha in a big city.

In another passage, Jack and Tabitha take a trip out to the suburbs for some R-and-R. They go to a restaurant, they shop, she buys a music box. Over dinner, they discuss some aspects of her case, and Jack reveals some things about his past which help define his character. Basically, I got back to business in the space of a couple of short paragraphs. I believe this passes the test of what to leave in. BUT...and a big one...had I gone on in detail about the town they visited, the people they saw, the antique store and its owner who liked to entertain customers with magic tricks, maybe even inventing some dialog for him, that would have been too much. Creative, pleasant, memorable, full of imagery, but not essential to the plot. By the way, the music box does make an appearance later that opens a touch of conflict which leads to a turning point in Tabitha and Jack's relationship.

It's all about pacing, after all. Too much description or development of inconsequential stuff bogs everything down. For readers like me, it leads to a question at the end of the book, "But what about that business where they...?" If it did not add anything, I wind up feeling duped.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Story Invents Itself

Another scene for "The Janus Rule" completed this morning, and it was a tough one. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the conversation between Angel and a cop while on a date had to provide information while moving their relationship forward. Scenes like this one usually wind up going through a number of fits and starts. I'll write a piece of dialog and then change my mind about where it's going. When I started this particular passage, I wasn't really sure where it would lead specifically. I thought it might have Angel suspecting her new friend of something, since it's in her nature to do that. It didn't quite turn out that way, but that element will probably creep in relatively soon.

I had also expected to relay some of her findings on her case, but now I'll have to find another way to do that. She should be talking to Jack, but the logistics are getting in the way. There's another scene to write before I get to that, though, and maybe that one will show me how to get where I need to go.

Yesterday and today, I also did a little something on the promotion front. I went to my Amazon author page and updated all six novels with a "From The Author" segment, which I didn't know existed until yesterday. It's just a place where I can expand on the blurb that appears for each book, hopefully to further intrigue and entice readers.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Simple Conversation

Done with the print edition of "Dabblers" for now, and today I started on the scene between Angel and the cop who is investigating the attempted murder of  Jack and/or Tabitha in "The Janus Rule." The cop is also something of a love interest for Angel, and they are on a date. I figured this would be one of those quiet, transitional scenes where two people converse and information is supplied to the reader as they supply it to each other. Simple, right?

Not really. Both of these people are suspicious types, and I've toyed with the idea of having them not quite trust each other. Trying to build that in makes their encounter twice as tricky. They already like each other, but they must now say something that makes the other leery of their intentions.

Another tricky bit is how to start revealing more about the currently-unidentified stalker/killer. Pretty soon, this character (Ha! You thought I was going to use a gender-specific pronoun, right?) will have to give some clues about motive and identity. At the same time, Jack and the police are investigating to learn who that person is and they will have to turn up something. But I still want it to be a complete surprise at the pinnacle moment.

Last night, while trying to get to sleep, I found myself imagining an opening for another Stefanie Durant book. It's funny how I have come to approach creating new stories with the word "conflict" flashing in my head like a neon sign. This opening sequence will have some action and suspense and introduce one layer of conflict at its conclusion. As usual, I still don't know the entire story myself, but I've got a ways to go on "Janus" before I can start. The time approaches, though, where I will have to start making notes.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Back On It

After a tumultuous Friday, I am back on track. I spent the better part of Friday in the Emergency Room with a minor health scare, but the doctors assured me I am fine. Due to that, not much work got done on "The Janus Rule," but I hope to get some more pages done today. 

Proofing for the print edition of "Dabblers" is more or less complete, and after a few blips along the way, the cover looks ready also. I'm anxiously awaiting a review that should be coming out soon. 

"Seer, Tyro, Fiend" is now a step closer to publication, I suspect as an ebook first because that's how the others have gone. Still no ETA on availability, however. 

Now that I am no longer encumbered by a cast and I have a car at my disposal, I'm giving more thought to investigating some promotional opportunities. I'm thinking of sending some letters to local libraries in the hopes of making some appearances to promote my books. I've also started reviving the idea of that sideline in editing/critiquing for unpublished writers, but right now, there are a lot of other demands on my time, so it will probably have to wait for a bit. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Deep into proofing the galley for "Dabblers" the print edition. As I read through it, I remember bits and pieces of inspiration for it, and I realized how much of it comes from my own life experiences. For example, the house Stefanie inherits from her uncle was modeled after a house my husband and I owned back in the 90s, although our house was not on a hill and did not look out on a lake.

Last night, storms raced through northern Illinois, and I recalled a storm that occurred at that other house. My husband had been away on a business trip, and the lightning and thunder had been constant and intense, just as in a scene from "Dabblers." Elsewhere in the book, a strange structure in the woods, with stone slabs set into the ground, comes from another house where I once lived. Here is a photo of what inspired that element in the book with the stone slabs partly visible at the bottom:

There are many more things from "Dabblers" that mirror my own life, some of them too intensely personal to share. I've often heard the advice, "Write what you know," and so I do indirectly. But still the best part of writing fiction is making things up. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Look

I decided to freshen up my blog page with a new background. I found the gently rippling water serene and soothing. Comments on the change are most welcome, or on any other topic on this blog. I'll also take this opportunity to invite followers to this page. While it's gratifying to see the page view counter move upward, sometimes in surprising jumps, I greatly enjoy getting comments from readers.

This morning, I started proofing the galley for "Dabblers" the print edition. I don't know the exact date when it will be available, but I'm hoping to have another print book to sell at the Author Fair in Joliet in October. And "Seer, Tyro, Fiend" is also in the works, so it's arrival could be just as timely.

Unfortunately, "Janus Rule" will go on hold for a few days while I work on "Dabblers," but I have a lot of the next segment in my head. I've been debating on whether or not to use an actual restaurant I know about as the setting for it. The Twisted Spoke is sort of an upscale biker bar in Chicago which was reviewed on the PBS show, "Check Please." It has the sort of quirky atmosphere that goes with one of the characters in the scene, just the sort of place he'd pick for a dinner date with Angel. I always wonder how businesses react to having their names appear in fiction. Presuming I write that the characters like it, there should be no worries. A lot of times, I wind up bypassing the reality and make up a restaurant. I suppose I could describe the restaurant, where I've never actually been, but not use its name. Then I can always mention it later in another post.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Digging for Details

The pages keep mounting in "The Janus Rule." This morning, I wrote one of those fun little scenes which features an informant and a clandestine meeting in a quirky place. I was on the brink of starting it yesterday but needed to decide on a locale. The perfect place came to me while waiting to pick up my husband from work. I chose the Chicago Civic Opera House, a massive old building on the western end of Chicago's downtown area. 

First I had to do a bit of research on the building to get the right names for parts of its structure, which the informant would use when describing where he wanted to meet with Jack. The informant's name came to me on the drive back home, but his physical description popped into my head as I was writing the segment. 

Another pause for research came when this character tells Jack the name of a hit man. They always come up with clever code names for themselves, at least in fiction, and I wanted something unique. I did a web search for a list of predators, and serendipity provide a list of apex predators, those that do not have any predator enemies of their own. This seemed like a treasure trove of ideas. The list of predators was long, and I looked through it for something unfamiliar, a name that sparked no image of an animal. I found it. The perentie, a monitor lizard found in Australia. Reading through a description on Wikipedia, a couple of traits sealed the deal: they avoid humans and disappear before they are seen, and they will feed on other lizards, including their own kind. A hit man who avoids humans and disappears before he is seen and will attack others of his kind--a natural choice! The perfect bad guy. 

This might seem like a lot of research for a very brief passage, but it only took minutes to do. Makes me think what authors used to go through before the age of the World Wide Web. 

Next up, developments in Angel's new relationship that will complicate her life and everything else. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Plot Coming Together

"The Janus Rule" progresses, at least in my head. I had a busy weekend with various car issues. I did have some think time and made some notes, which I hope to jump into today.

Some of the ideas I came up with require going back into the already-written stuff and making some revisions. New information is about to change the picture of who the shooter is and who the target is. Also, my notes contain an explanation of the scheme that led to the case Angel is working on. Some of that continues to evolve, however, as I tackle the old question of how big it should be. Jack Watson, being the ethical ex-cop he is, believes that any proof of illegal activity he finds while investigating should be reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. He won't try to solve them himself, although he usually ends up being the one to figure it out anyway.

I had an interesting cover concept come to mind too, but I'm still playing with the image in my head. The first two Jack Watson books had some sort of inverted image on it, i.e., the chess piece and the masks, so I'll incorporate that motif again. Given the title on this one, I'll have to work the two-faced aspect into it as well. I don't really want to use a mask-type representation of Janus, because that's too much like the "Changeling" cover. I'll be thinking about it.

In other news, as they say, "Seer, Tyro, Fiend" is in the works, too, so I'll be expecting galleys on it soon. I'm also waiting on pins and needles for a review of "Dabblers" that's coming from Windy City Reviews. The reviewer has told me already she liked the book and asked if there would be a sequel. At least it should be a favorable review.

Friday, June 7, 2013

This and That

No, I'm not delivering a lesson on overused words as the title of this post might imply. It's just an indication of scattered subject matter.

My manuscript for "The Janus Rule" is up to 100 pages and almost 20,000 words. An important connection is the conspiracy case has just been revealed, and the killer/stalker has resorted to extreme measures. Good progress, although Microsoft provided an obstacle in its inimitable way yesterday. I typed the following line of dialog, contained in quotes: "Ahh, Denton's old alma mater." After that, I started to supply a description of the speaker's reaction. When I typed, outside of quotes, She appeared to . . . all three words came out with a red underscore, signifying they were misspelled. Apparently, Microsoft Word decided based on the words "alma mater" that I wished to proceed in Spanish. It took a while to search through the Help function as well as some other resources to find out how to (a) make it stop doing that, and (b) make not do that ever again. I found I had to select the entire document and then change the language back to English. Then I had to go into the Options settings and turn off the feature that automatically detects a change of language based on what is typed. It seems the more I work with Word, the more automatic features I find I must turn off because they just cause problems.

Naturally, I'm already thinking about what I'll write after "Janus" is completed. I have ideas for both a third Windsong Lake book as well as a revamp of an older manuscript that will re-situate it in the not-too-far future. It's fun thinking up features of the future. In some cases, I'm merely extrapolating on technology and social behaviors I see every day. Occasionally, a news story about something just announced or projected gets my attention and provides another idea. For the Windsong Lake story, I have in mind some compelling scenes and a good handle on the situation of the mystery at hand.

I guess I'll have to decide which one I want to work on once I reach that point. Perhaps more inspirations and ideas will come along in the meantime and tip the scales of indecision.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Back Story

A very productive morning. "The Janus Rules" has turned out to be somewhat more complex than any of my other novels because it has two different "cases"--the one Jack's firm is hired for and the stalker menacing him and Tabitha. Yesterday, I broke off writing at the point where Angel is about to do her second interview while undercover at the client's accounting business when I realized I needed to know what this next person's angle is. It was time to work on back story.

Earlier, I had started a "Notes" document. I often do this while in the process of working on a different novel, a place to capture ideas. I had already made a list of characters, especially the staff of the accounting firm. This morning, I opened that document and figured out who those people are. I created a plan involving a couple of them and embroidered the history of another who will look like a suspect. I also wrote up notes on the stalker, which led to some quick research on things related to that person's motive. So now I know who the "bad guys" are, what they plan to do and why. Of course, some of the other characters will initially look like baddies, too, just to keep things interesting, and one of the baddies will not look so guilty early on. A criminal mastermind needs to be clever, right?

Woven around these two centers of action are the protagonists. Jack is questioning his lifestyle choices--does he want to move into peaceful family life and stay away from potential danger or does he want to be on the front lines, doing the investigative work he loves? Tabitha knows of Jack's inner debate, and while she does not want to give up her career, she wants that home life, too. If she remains focused on her singing, it might give Jack license to focus on his business, but how then will they ever move toward the future they desire? Angel wants to prove herself to Jack, who has replaced her father in a way as someone she wants approval from, that she can be a private investigator, but she often questions her own abilities. She's got a love interest, but her tendency to be overly suspicious of just about everyone gets in the way.

This IS getting complicated. But it's fun!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fast Typing but Longer Thinking

Oh, how much faster the writing flows now that I can type with both hands at full speed! At the same time, I've moved into the tricky area of the suspect line-up for the case Angel is working on. As mentioned earlier, she needs to talk to each person at the firm she's investigating for and form an opinion about them as to which one is the culprit. I have her ready to start her second interview while she reflects on the first one.

So now I must figure out who the culprit actually is and what their motivation is. What is this person's background? What are his/her aims, loyalties, secrets? Since there is already a murder involved, what motive would make this person kill someone? What was that person's role to begin with? How did they connect? All those questions point up just how little plotting I've done so far! I suppose I must take a break and do some character development around my potential suspects, and that might lead to reducing their numbers to something more manageable.

The pace of this story kind of intrigues me because a great deal seems to be happening over a short time span. I find most of my plots extend over a week or more, but this one started on a Friday and now it's Tuesday in Chapter 8. I didn't put in much about the intervening Sunday; just sort of glossed over it with a passing thought from Tabitha about how she and Jack spent it. One of my favorite reference books on writing was one I read long, long ago. I know the title was "Writing Fiction" but I can't recall the author. I'll try to find out for a later post. Anyway, in the chapter on pacing, she starts with a recounting of how she and her daughter set about defrosting the freezer one day. Her daughter said, "I wish this was a book, because then we'd just say 'they defrosted the freezer' and it would be all done." In "Janus Rule," nothing happened on Sunday that would move the story forward, so the rules of pacing say to leave it out. I have actually read published books that include long passages where things happen but none of them push the story on. In some instances, too much "filler" will make me turn to the last chapter to see how it came out, if I'm interested in the characters enough, and then quit. While writing my own books, if I find myself feeling bogged down by a passage that is keeping me from getting to "the good part," it's time to re-examine it to see if it can be summed up in a single sentence or two and then just move on.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Name Change and a Dilemma

Made more progress on the new Jack Watson book yesterday and some this morning as well, and I have decided to change the working title to "The Janus Rule." This came from a bit of conversation about suspects as Jack tries to figure out who would want to kill him. Becca, his office assistant, quotes one of Jack's former bosses when his firm was Riley and McBride. Riley would cite what he called the Janus Rule, that anyone can turn two faced when properly motivated. This little piece came to me early this morning while still in bed, but it had one of those ah-ha-oh-yeah effects.

Now for the dilemma part. As part of her investigation, Angel will interview staff members at an accounting firm. She must pretend to be gathering information for a publicity brochure while secretly evaluating each person's potential to be the turncoat who is giving or selling information to a competing firm, i.e., looking for the Janus among them. Cute, huh?

Anyway, my quandary is how much of these interviews to include. If I focus on only the one with the real perpetrator, in order to hint at motive, I could give it away too early. I can include a few others as red herrings, but then I have to account for introducing those people in a substantial way. It's sort of like what happens in movies and television. If the actor gets a line to speak, then he must get his name in the credits. I don't like the idea of someone reading the book and at the end realizing that a character of no import whatsoever got "face time" just to fool the reader.

Having written that, I suspect the fair thing would be to have some of the interviews "on stage" as it were, and while the real bad person will be among them, the others will provide clues to who that bad person is. To not have the main bad guy appear well before the big finale wouldn't be fair either. I believe in fair play in fiction, that the reader must have enough clues to get close to figuring it all out or at least to narrow the suspect list.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Freedom, Promotion, and Progrss

Well it's sure good to be out of that arm cast! While my wrist is still a bit stiff from being immobilized for five and a half weeks, it's getting better. To be able to type at full speed again is awesome! I'm already looking for a new car to replace my totaled one, and that means I can start doing things again.

Back to work on "Janus Games" and enjoying the fact that I can type a lot faster. The suspects keep mounting, and each POV character has their own theory about the motive behind the shooting. My newest character, Angel, throws in some interesting aspects and she's becoming more defined and real to me.

By way of promotion, I sent off a printed copy of "Dabblers" to a reviewer for Windy City Reviews on Friday. At my local Post Office, the woman at the counter asked the usual questions about the contents of my small box, i.e., any liquids, batteries, other substances. I said it was just paper, and she remarked it was two pounds of paper. So I took the opportunity to tell her what was in it. She was excited to meet an author and took one of my business cards. I made these myself:

These are really easy to do with Print Shop 2.0. On the back side, I included my web addresses and other information. I print a sheet at a time--10 cards--on card stock with micro-perforations for clean edges. I can update the text as needed if anything changes.

Sometimes it seems a little slippery, turning every encounter into a promotional opportunity, but when you do  a lot of your own advertising, you take whatever opportunity comes along. I think most writers are, by nature, a bit shy, but you have to push yourself to get over it. You seek publication to sell books, and they don't sell without someone, i.e., the author, getting the word out so people will buy them. Promoting yourself as a writer and promoting your work is part of the job.